I’m 1 in 8 … Behind The Curtain …

My breast cancer diagnosis came through a preventative benign lumpectomy; it was an unexpected shock even by the doctors.

If you’ve just joined my Journey, you can catch up HERE, HERE, and HERE.

I’ve mentioned how wonderful my doctor team has been. At every turn, they cared for me with compassion, dignity, knowledge and included me as part of the team. They wanted my input, asked for it, and listened when I answered. I felt heard, understood and valued every step of the way!

Today I want to take you behind the curtain and introduce you to some more heroes on my journey.

Radiation was the second step in my three tiered plan.

Of course, I was not looking forward to it, but wanted to get on the other side of it! I buckled up and told myself the only way was through it for my health and longevity.

Little did I know, the most kind, thoughtful, caring individuals were waiting behind treatment doors.

I got a clue when calling the receptionist for further navigation instruction. My GPS dumped me in a parking lot without a clue what building or door to enter at the hospital complex. Covid did not afford me the luxury of strolling about asking questions. So, I was hoping the number I found was a real person! You know what I mean…. Ugggg!

The sweetest voice, Cindy, assured me I was in the right place and guided me to my destination. Once inside, she called me by name; thoughtfully and politely took all my vital information. She was the essence of hospitality; splashed with concern and care. She became “Cindy” to me, not the receptionist in the office.

Less than five minutes later, another friend “Julie”, my radiation nurse, took me behind the closed private doors of the radiation area. She was thorough, precise and armed me with information… spoken and written. Her phone number was preeminent; my person for questions, concerns, information.

I saw my radiology Doctor, who went over and through what I would experience. Again, he gave me reassurance and realistically charted my course while there.

Prior to my initial set up, they gave me a tour of where radiation would occur on my next visit…

OK … WOW…. I’m not sure what I expected, but …”DO, DO, DO, DO” … the machine looked “other worldly”, futuristic, Captain Kirkish … I sort of blurted that out loud!

Does anybody remember getting a “Weekly Reader” in elementary school?

I know this dates me. But, each week, we got one, a little newspaper of sorts. There was a section on the back that showed plans for future things, drawings and estimate of years till they were built. I vividly remember seeing a multi-tiered highway, probably five roads stacked high. I thought that couldn’t possibly be true or ever happen; seemed out-of-this world-futuristic. Ha, ha, ha …. Now they are all over the place!

That’s what this room reminded me of:

Star Wars meets Weekly Reader moment in reality!!

They let me take a picture before I finished… see for yourself…

Fully computerized and automized with lots of moving parts. The bed moves up and back, the machine circles around you and I couldn’t always tell what was going on behind me, but things were happening!! Ceiling tiles above me looked like clouds! Music wafted through the room.

On the first visit for actual radiation, I met the rest of the team:

They were the most welcoming, accommodating, kind, considerate, thoughtful heroes. They had me at “Would you like a heated blanket?” Yes. Every. Time. “YES!” YES, PLEASE!

Take the heated blanket folks! It can get a little cold in there; use your imagination. The heated blanket was not merely a temperature helper. It was soothing, relaxing, comforting and felt like a hug in an unknown, unnatural, unusual state! Take the blanket and ask if they don’t offer!! Tell them I told you to 😉

These precious guys and gals became my guides and cheerleaders. They were so pleasant every time I was there. Everything didn’t always go smoothly, but they were the utmost professionals and exhibited remarkable compassion and care. They called me by name every time and greeted me with smiles. That goes a long way in circumstances like these!!

Hint: During radiation, you have to hold your breath. Of course, this is always the time you feel a tickle in your throat and about two seconds in you brain says, ” You need a breath!” Why do our bodies play such cruel tricks🤦🏻‍♀️ Here is what I found helped … As I mentioned there was always music playing … when they asked me to hold my breath, I focused on figuring out the lyrics to the song being sung! I couldn’t believe how this helped me hold my breath without my body interrupting me!! I tried a few other things first, but once this worked, I stuck with it! Worked for me!

A Secret

Soooooo, below we have the winners to our giveaway!

I’ve hinted at the giveaway being special. Here is why …

I stayed with my daughter during the weeks of radiation. The hospital is two hours from our house plus I-95 Washington, DC traffic. I was not doing that! I’ve lived around DC my whole life. You learn what is and isn’t worth it!

I decided I needed to take some sort of project with me, since I wouldn’t feel like doing all the normals. So, I chose to make pumpkins. Lots of pumpkins. These pumpkins…

If I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t have to even start them, but if I did feel like it, I would have something to do with my hands even if my body didn’t feel great. I’m so glad I went prepared! I highly recommend thinking of something to do while sitting and prepare for it prior. I was a one-woman-pumpkin-manufacturing-plant.

In the end, I gifted most of them to the radiation staff, along with some homemade pumpkin bread. They were surprised, kind and complimentary! I’m not quite sure they understood… I needed to! I needed to be productive when life was halted. I needed to pour out my pent up energy. I needed to be focused outside my body. It was therapeutic… healing!

I made so many … Two of you are now receiving them too!

I DID IT! I finished radiation… a certified graduate! Here’s my diploma and a video (watch till the end and see my heroes faces) and photos to prove it!

I regrettably did not get a pic of my Dr. or sweet Cindy!

Aren’t these beautiful faces of heroes?

They sure are to me!!!!

THANK YOU .. Dr. K, Julie, Cindy, Jodi, Kevin, Donovan, Chelsea, Rachel, Rozelle,and Lynne!!! You are more than awesome!! I was so blessed by your care and concern!

Congratulations to our GIVEAWAY WINNERS:

Jessica Butler and Vickie Satterwhite!!

Journeying On…

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6 thoughts on “I’m 1 in 8 … Behind The Curtain …

  1. Dear Elaine, I am so thankful you completed your therapy. I admire how you handled this trial. I know God has been with you the entire time. Thank you for sharing your experiences. This will give hope to those who go through similar experiences. Sincerely, Your Sister in Christ, Patty Riddle

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